The beautiful mystery continues.
With three weeks until training camps open and the question of whether Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will show up in Green Bay still not resolved with any degree of clarity, Rodgers addressed his offseason experience on Monday — without addressing his short-term football future.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to work on my mental health,” Rodgers said during a Monday news conference, via Ben Baby of ESPN.com. “I haven’t dealt with bouts of depression or anything, that I think for whatever reason, are OK to talk about if you’re talking about mental health. I’ve just really been trying to think about what puts me in the best frame of mind. What habits can I form that allow me to feel most in my body, most present, happiest? And that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Those habits included not showing up for any of his team’s offseason program, including the mandatory minicamp. Along the way, he gave up a $500,000 workout bonus and risked a fine in the range of $100,000. (It’s unknown whether the Packers excused his absence from the mandatory three-day event in June.)
The closest Rodgers apparently came to addressing his lingering dissatisfaction with the Packers’ front office came through this quote: “Sometimes the loudest person in the room is not the smartest person. Sometimes the loudest person in the room is not the person who has all the facts on their side or the truth on their side. Sometimes there’s a lot of wisdom is silence. Sometimes there’s a lot of wisdom in being selective on what you say.”
That doesn’t mean the quietest person is the smartest. Rodgers, through things he’s said and hasn’t said and things his camp has leaked, has created plenty of chaos for the Packers, and he has done nothing to rectify it. Also, to the extent there’s wisdom in refusing to say whether he will or won’t show up for camp, I’m not nearly wise enough to discern it.
“The mental side of it is so important for all of us athletes,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think it’s talked about enough. But taking time to work on yourself is, I think, the best gift any of us can give ourselves.”
He’s right in general, but this is the first time that Rodgers has tied any of the drama of the past several months to a broader focus on his mental health. If the confusion and contradictions and complaints traced back to his broader mental health and well-being and not simply a desire to leave the Packers and finish his career elsewhere, common sense suggests we likely would have heard something about that before July 5.